Asian Shares Rise On China Stimulus Hopes

Asian stocks rose on Wednesday amid hopes China will increase economic stimulus to soften the blow of higher U.S. tariffs. Higher oil prices also underpinned investor sentiment.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped 30.90 points or 1.1 percent to 2,730.85 after China said it would retaliate by imposing tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, effective September 24th. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged up 322.71 points or 1.2 percent to 27,407.37.

Japanese shares rallied to reach their highest level in nearly eight months as the yen slipped against its key counterparts and the Bank of Japan kept its ultra-loose monetary policy unchanged, as widely expected. Positive trade balance data also boosted sentiment.

Japan posted a 444.594 billion yen trade deficit in August, the Ministry of Finance said. That beat forecasts for a shortfall of 483.2 billion yen following the 231.9 billion yen deficit in July.

Exports climbed 6.6 percent on year to 6.691 trillion yen – exceeding expectations for 5.2 percent and up from 3.9 percent in the previous month. Imports jumped an annual 15.4 percent to 7.136 trillion yen versus forecasts for 14.5 percent and up from 14.6 percent a month earlier.

The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 251.98 points or 1.1 percent to 23,672.52, extending gains for the fourth straight session. The broader Topix Index closed 1.5 percent higher at 1,785.66. Toyota Motor, Fanuc and Honda Motor jumped 1-3 percent.

Australian markets closed higher as higher commodity and oil prices helped lift mining and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 28.50 points or 0.5 percent to 6,190, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 27.50 points or 0.4 percent at 6,297.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto jumped around 3 percent as copper and iron ore prices rallied on hopes for Chinese stimulus. Gold miners Newcrest and Evolution climbed around 1 percent.

Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Santos gained 1-2 percent after crude prices jumped 1.4 percent on Tuesday on expectations of a possible supply shortage

Lender NAB climbed 0.7 percent after cutting executive pay and revamping bonuses. ANZ and Westpac rose around 1 percent. On the flip side, drugmaker CSL fell 1.4 percent to extended losses for a third straight session.

New Zealand shares finished modestly higher, led by healthcare stocks. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index inched up 29.29 points or 0.3 percent at 9,345.06.
Synlait Milk shares slumped 6.6 percent after the dairy giant cut its forecast milk price for the current 2018-2019 season.

On the data front, New Zealand’s seasonally adjusted current account deficit fell to NZ$2.7 billion for the June 2018 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said. The NZ$484 million decrease from the March 2018 quarter was mainly driven by rising exports of goods and services.

Seoul stocks ended largely unchanged as trade frictions lingered between the United States and China. The benchmark Kospi finished marginally lower at
2,308.46, giving up earlier gains. LG Chem and SK Telecom dropped 2-3 percent while Samsung Electronics surged 1.4 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose as the latest round of 10 percent tariff on Chinese products looked less damaging than initially feared. The Dow advanced 0.7 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 added half a percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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